Monday, August 17, 2009

that's a lotta palaver

i have spent my entire day getting to oslo. you'd think that would be quite difficult, in light of it being under an hour's flight away. sadly, it wasn't. everything that could go wrong did. metro issues, rebooking of original flight due to missing first one (see aforementioned metro issues), my bag (containing absolutely everything, since i didn't feel like carrying anything but my purse) took the flight after mine and i had to wait for it at the airport (during which time i almost collapsed from lack of food and latte), delays due to tracks under repair near the station i was going to once i got to norway....i could go on, but it's still too depressing and there's no sense all of us being depressed. at least it gave me plenty of time to do lots of processing (aka scribbling of thoughts in my little notebook) of the wonderful blog camp weekend. so i hereby totally change the subject to that.


on twitter, TFM dubbed BC 1.5 British Blog Camp or BBC, and we loved it, so it will hereafter be referred to as BBC, at least by me.  i was reading gail collins' column in the IHT this morning and she said something that resonated with me as i bask in the afterglow of BBC, "whenever anybody asks you to do something off the wall, you should try to do it - unless it involves being unethical or a two-plane connection." from all that i learned at BBC, i would have to wholeheartedly endorse this as a kind of general life philosophy (especially the two-plane connection part).

because if you think about it, going to a stranger's house in another country for the weekend is a bit off the wall. although we don't feel like strangers here in the blogosphere thanks to the very personal nature of blogs, there is still  chance that someone might present themselves as other than they are. however, i felt certain that i knew bee and that we had a lot in common and that she would be as i thought she was. and indeed it was true, only of course, even better.

from the moment i arrived and we greeted one another like old friends with a big hug, we didn't stop talking. i told her that the only thing on my agenda was to spend a bit of time in a bookstore. so we did that, after we had a lovely lunch and a long walk along the river in a town not far from her house. the whole time, we talked and talked. we told our stories. it was a bit like opening a floodgate for both of us. the words tumbled out. we hardly paid attention to our food, which was excellent or even our coffee, which was lovely.


when i think about it now, it was quite astonishing how much we both had to say. and how urgently we seemed to need to tell one another our stories. in person. i'm not sure why it was. in one sense, it was like a rush to catch up. even in the bookstore, i hardly wandered around, we spent a bit of time by the cookbooks (oops, bought four), but even then, we didn't stop talking and laughing and talking some more. it was quite extraordinary. a real palaver.


we'd had a late lunch and when we got back to bee's beautiful home, i settled my things into the cheerful orange room (which oddly enough, i failed to photograph, tho' that's for the best since it belongs to her very private daughter, tho' i will say it had a gorgeous orla keily duvet cover that practically leapt into my suitcase) and we had a cup of tea. as we chatted away about being mothers, the mysterious behavior of teenagers, the delightful behavior of tweens, schools, books, laura ingalls wilder, cookbooks (i bow to bee's collection, she beats mine by a long shot, tho' those four i bought helped a little bit). of course, we also talked about blogs and the ones which inspire us. funnily, enough, the blogs the two of us tend to read don't overlap that much, so i can tell you, i have a whole new list of wonderful places to discover.

while we chatted, in the back of my mind, i was thinking about the ways in which bee had both retained a lot of her americanness and also had absorbed a lot of englishness--the tea, the public (which are private) school talk, the driving on the "wrong" side, vocabulary. i found myself wondering in the back of my mind how much americanness i retain (i suspect it probably came out a bit in bee's presence) and how scandinavian i have become. because i think it's hard to tell about ourselves. we're so inside of ourselves, aren't we? how do we know? i was a little disturbed by the thought of exactly how far i now am from americanness (and how far i feel inside of me from danishness), because it leaves me with that strong, melancholic sense of what i always call that mid-atlantic feeling - adrift in the middle of the atlantic, not belonging (by choice) either place.


but that makes it sound like BBC made me sad, which is far from the truth. being together in person with these amazing women gave me so much energy (that was lucky in light of today) and so much inspiration and much to write about in the coming days. so stay tuned for more.

23 comments:

kristina said...

I was so happy to meet you again! isn't one of the great things about blog camp that you get to read everyone's impressions of it afterwards? :-)

paris parfait said...

It sounds like the absolute best time with amazing women! Always lovely to meet kindred spirits and discover you're even more kindred than anticipated! And four cookbooks (a bonus). Wonderful photo; looking forward to seeing and hearing more about your own personal "BBC." So sorry you had a bad travel day today! xo

paris parfait said...

P.S. That whole living in another country/American bit is an interesting story/dilemma for most of us expats. I subscribe to the late James Michener's theory "the world is my home." xo

An Open Heart said...

The "going to a stranger's house" topic came up this weekend while I was discussing my plans to go to Blog Camp Reno - although in the same counrty - still, someone whom I've never met and who, except for the interweb, do not 'know'....
but, also, stepping outside a comfort zone, my friends and family of course cautioned me, but, I have no reservations about the adventure, which is huge for me. I fancy myself a world traveller someday, but, don't actually see it happening....I rarely venture too far from the 5 mile radius that is my little neighborhood....Oh, to be an expat anywhere.....

Glad you had a lovely time, thought about you ladies over the weekend, wondering about your adventures.....

S

Maria-Thérèse said...

Sounds like you had a pretty great time apart from the whole Oslo thing... Gah!

I blogged about all my awards! Yay! I'm going to stick them everywhere like little stickers. Schuuuukt roligt!

rayfamily said...

Sounds like a phenomenal weekend with great new friends, despite the travel hassle ;)

Char said...

sounds like a fantastic time

Optimistic Pessimist said...

isn't it amazing when you meet someone from the blogosphere and just can't stop talking. You would think there would a few awkward silences, but in my experiences there has never been enough time to cover all that needs to be discussed. It's exhilerating!

Rainysoul said...

Sounds like a fabulous weekend, I'm terribly jealous! I've put on my "to do" list though, to meet enough bloggers to have a meetup close to me! :)

Thanks for sharing.

The Redhead Riter said...

I need time like that...do you want to visit? LOL

Love the pic of the bridge. So relaxing.

Janet said...

such a horrible travel day! yuck! but thanks for the wonderful sharing - and a new word to boot!

Cyndy said...

So glad that you made it home, finally. As terrible as it is to have trouble on the way back, at least you made it to BC on time! Thank you so much for the stories and pictures ~ though once again green with envy (and, yes, I know the cure), I am thankful for all of the sharing.

So, where to next, Julie?

wv: hallyph: the feeling one experiences after a trip, both excited with memories yet exhausted from travel. Now time for the vacation after the vacation...

AD said...

Gosh, that sounds so amazing to experience. It sounds like you had a lovely time.

And I just absolutely LOVE your photographs. You've got skills.
;]

Sara said...

Such a beautiful place...It's my first time here :)

Lynne said...

oh, we really need to do the SA blog camp thing!!!

And I can identify with the "mid atlantic" feeling... but for me its a sense of not belonging, even though I am a South African and living in South Africa.

Ju said...

From your Twitter messages and your blog, I'm convinced that BBC experience was an awesome. Different ways of getting to know people are always worth it. If you said 15 years ago that you would be making friends from the 'internet' no one would believe it.
:))

Elizabeth said...

Sounds like you had a more than fantastic weekend.

Don't work too hard in Oslo. Have a great week.

Joei - Alvond said...

Seems that you really had a great time this weekend, and I love your last photo it's very beautiful.

_Joei-Alvond

Elizabeth said...

You see, I'm reading all about blog camp because I would have liked to be there
though a great deal older
I have talked to Bee on the phone
Yes, very odd being an ex-pat which I have been for ever.
Such a wonderful picture of the bridge.

Kamana said...

i can never resist cookbooks! always end up buying one in the bookstore.

bored.mind said...

nice pictures--as always. i always enjoy reading and looking at your blog. you inspire me to go build my own blog too. happy day to you! :)

The Lil Bee said...

Your photos are so beautiful...the colors just pop. I especially love that top image. Gorgeous!

Bee said...

First of all, I'm SO SORRY about your ghastly trip to Oslo. You must have been so tired, too. AWFUL.

Second, I am fascinated to read your observations about BBC -- although it really felt like two equally intense parts, didn't it? The bit that we spent together was an entity unto itself. I don't think that I've talked so much in about the last two months put together . . . and it was so very inspiring to be on the same wavelength with someone. Or at least a harmonizing wavelength, because you are so very unique, J.

I'm sure that being together brought out our American sides (which is sometimes such a comfort), but as I told you, I'm most comfortable with "hybrids" now.

Your pictures are FANTASTIC. I especially love the bridge and the pic of the British flag. I'm very impressed that you managed to capture something so fine out of the rather drab Newbury scene. Hopefully, someday I will have my own Nikon . . . but how do I acquire that wonderfully artistic eye?